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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Case Study: A Manual That Instructs

CellKeeper[TM] is a fantastic new company that provides digital device (iPods, cameras, cell phones, Blackberry/Palm Pilots, mp3 players, etc.) carrying accessories. The CellKeepers are versatile caddies that have room for your IDs, credit cards, money, key hooks, and digital device - for those on the move and in case you don't want to drag your purse or briefcase out with you on your next walk. They are convenient if you switch bags all the time and they are also fashionable. Worth, the company's founder, says he came up with the idea when he went to walk his dog and had no where to put his keys.

The problem (or plus) is that the product is so versatile. The current "How To Wear" guide which folds to the size of a credit card and comes packaged inside the wallet portion of the product wasn't very clear, and if anything was more confusing. Focus groups were thrown off by it's complexity and vague descriptions.

We redesigned the manual with the user in mind, by taking very clear photos (instead of illustrations) of the products parts and labeling them up front. Then we added section headers for the different wearing styles and clearly detailed the steps while referencing to the product parts photographed. We maintained a consistency with their brand style, but used more of the company's orange color to appeal to a wider audience - all the while maintaining the same size final product.

YELLmedia provided layout design, copy, photos, and photo retouching.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bloom Keeps Growing!

Bloom Yoga Studio is a real unique place - a yoga, massage, and childbirth resource that provides a variety of classes from beginning yoga to advanced, and from prenatal to mom and baby. They also offer special workshop classes on an on going basis. I just checked out their website and there is even a belly dance class! I got to go sign up for that!

The concept behind Bloom Yoga Studio is that they wanted to create a safe environment for anyone to come do yoga...not just Hollywood actresses and the like. Its a positive place for everyday people where no one gets judged. Since outsourcing their website in 2005, they had been creating much of their advertising by themselves. They finally decided they had enough.

Our first project was an ad which needed to be friendly and down to earth, not unapproachable like some high-brow yoga studios with attitude. That meant an inviting headline "let's yoga!" that defies the English language and an approachable model who doesn't alienate anyone by being too thin or too scantly clad. The copy followed along this reasoning - fun, upbeat, and inviting with a strong call to action at the end - a limited engagement free yoga class. We maintained their brand identity by using the same colorful bars used on their website and logo and introduced their main focuses (yoga | massage | childbirth resources) in a graphic arc treatment.

From there we went on to polishing their monthly e-newsletter (which was managed by an e-newsletter vendor) maintaining the the colors and bars from their website. Water bottle labels, which are needed by thirsty yoga-ers, were created to help promote the brand in a fun way, coming up with the water's tag line "you need water to bloom." Once again retaining the brand in a modern and clean way. As the companies owners Kerry and Zach look to expand we will keep adding on new items piece by piece - building their brand, brick by brick.

YELLmedia provided copywriting, concepting, design, layout, and HTML web programming.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

SEO(T) - Search Engine Optimization Tips

To be found or not to be found? That is the question.

Today people spend serious dough on what is called SEO or Search Engine Optimization. What's that you ask? Its improves the likelihood that people will a) find your website and b) when they find your website that they were actually looking for it. As with anything it can be a science and a full time job on. There are now companies that exist for that sole benefit. But if you understand it, you don't have to break the bank over it.

Here are some tips/tricks specific to Google[TM] but applicable to other search engines on improving your page rankings:

1) LINKS: It's important that other websites link to yours and that those sites are quality and reputable i.e. not just anyone and nothing underhanded. It is even healthier and better to have reciprocal links. So if your clients don't compete with your services i.e. you sell janitorial supplies and your link partner is a maid service, it would be a great idea to trade links support each other. Start a linking campaign.

2) TITLE TAGS: Make sure that the title (seen at the very top of the browser and programmed in the "head" of the source code) is pertinent to your site and to what is on that page.

3) KEYWORD DENSITY: This refers to the content on your page and specifically the keywords. If you are selling puppies and you mention them once on your page and then have a whole bunch of pictures, you page isn't very dense. If you mention puppies 50 times on that same page, that's density you can cut through with a knife!

4) KEYWORD LINKS: Links to your website should say more than "click here." For example if you sell puppies, a link with the text "Purebred Maltese Puppies" pointing at your site will cause your site to be listed earlier if a visitor searches for "Maltese puppies" than if the link simply said "click here".

5) ALTERNATE TAGS ON IMAGES: Since images are sometimes names "38756.jpg" or any strange variety of letters and numbers on your website, a search engine isn't going to figure out that that's a picture of Brad Pitt, unless you changed it's name to "BradPitt.jpg." So the solution is to place ALT tags on images. In Brad's case it might be tags such as . You get the picture.

6) META TAGS: The Meta Keywords tag used to be an important way to get your page listed under specific keywords under the search engines. Nowadays major search engines like Google and Alta Vista ignore this tag, and the keywords tag no longer has the significance it used to have in the early days of the web. You probably remember when you use to do a search for a "car" and 10 adult sites would pop-up. They put "car" in their meta tag, and this is probably when Meta tags don't have the same weight they use to.

Though the benefits conferred by using the various meta tags on your page is not substantial, they are nonetheless useful in controlling how the search engines index and list your page. Since tags like the description and robots tag require very little effort to add to your page, it is probably a good idea to add at least these tags to your pages. So you can slug them in and sleep easy at night.

7) MANUAL SEARCH ENGINE SUBMISSIONS: Go to each of the major search engines and make sure your URL is listed with them. Make sure you have a list of keywords handy, as they will ask you for this. This is time consuming, but a FREE service. This should be done yearly.

8) PAID ADVERTISEMENTS/PAY-PER-CLICK: All the tips above relate to what they call a "natural" search. But the best way to guarantee that your website ranking is to define your prescribed criteria and then BUY it. There is no such thing as a free lunch. How it works is that you select the keywords you want to be found under. Those keywords have a different cost depending on popularity i.e. "dog" might cost $1 a click while "runt" will only cost $.05 a click.

You only pay for what was clicked. So if you budgeted $10 for "dog" after 10 users click through the ad to your website your ad won't come up on top of the search anymore. You can outbid the highest purchaser of that word i.e. $1.10 to guarantee your name comes up first every time till you have exhausted your budget. You can do this with as many relevant words as you please. Your search engine vendor will be able to provide you with access to reports on how your rankings, number of click throughs, and budgets. From there you can constantly play with your key words and budgets till you find a winning combination.

Hopefully this helped explain and demystify the SEO monster. Please let me know if you have any questions or would like to add some SEO magic to your website. Just YELL!


Monday, July 16, 2007

No Average Annual Report

All's Well Who Age Well was the last project I worked on as I transitioned from Marketing Art Manager of Mather LifeWays to Creative Director of YELLmedia. The project specifically was the Mather LifeWays 2006 Year in Review. As with any Annual Report type piece, the purpose was to convey to shareholders, board members, and customers who the company is while instilling confidence in the future of the company, and highlighting certain benchmarks.

At the same time we started brainstorming the project Mather LifeWays had introduced the idea of storytelling or storywelling into its company culture. Working with their in-house copywriter we developed the concept for the annual report by taking the idea of "storytelling" quite literally. The Year in Review as a story that the audience would be more likely to read (maybe even more than once), hold on to, and show to their kids. It would reflect a book from title page and dedications to the foreword and afterword, and separate Mather LifeWays from the others in their industry. It would also convey the companies ideas and feelings about aging and better define the company. Often people are confused at who Mather LifeWays is because of their many great offerings: Research/Education, Senior Living Residences, and Community Outreach.

Our story revolved around a character we invented called Alli, an average, female, older adult who wonders if she is "aging well." As Alli goes on her quest to find "Ways to Age Well" (the companies tag line), she embarks on a virtual tour of Mather LifeWays. The reader learns all about Mather LifeWays as Alli does. As she visits a location, that locations benchmarks are highlighted along the margins of that page.

At the end of Alli's journey the story is left open ended with a call to action for the reader to submit how he/she thinks Alli's story continues. It calls for the readers to take a more active role and symbolically shows that there is more to the journey/adventure of aging than you might think. To download the review click here.

YELLmedia helped with developing the concept, storyboarding, hand drawn paintings & illustrations, layout, and print production.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Case Study: Migun Means Beautiful Health - Reconstructed

It's official. Welcome to the first YELLmedia blog, a.k.a YELLog. Let's hear it! Can I get a YELL? Booyah!

I thought starting a blog would be a great way for future clients to get a glimpse into the thought processes and capabilities of YELLmedia and at the same time give a little more exposure to my clients. Today, every link counts in bringing your hits and search engine rankings up. Also, I solidly support all the projects that I work on. I think it's good moral, work ethics and it helps keep me be excited about the projects that I am working on.

Migun South Africa came to YELLmedia without anything - no collateral, no website, no business cards, zippo. Migun is a Korean company that creates thermal massage beds that actually improve your health. The beds are sold world wide. I've tested one out and it feels nothing like those wimpy massage chairs at novelty stores. Helga move over!

Migun Headquarters has no brand standards that they issue to franchisees. That means that every Migun website in America looks completely different. This particular entrepreneur had full rights to the South African market for Migun and wanted to be sure any subcontracted stores looked exactly the same . He understands the value of a consistent brand.

We developed their distinct branding and feel which all subsequent stores/locations will need to replicate. Migun HQ had two different logo looks with blue and green. We really connected with the green color because of its association with nature and health. Since Migun South Africa is a start-up work was done on an ongoing basis and rolled out little by little. After corporate identity, we developed the website which is constantly evolving.

From there we started with gym ads, flyers, the Grand Opening E-vite for their first Demo Centre, and Web-coupons. They are currently growing, have teamed up with a highly respected Chiropractic professional, and have a couple large deals on the horizon.

YELLmedia provided the following skills for this job: brand identity, marketing strategy, copywrighting, web design, print collateral materials, photo selection/purchase/rights management, e-vites, and press release.